Part 1: Where failing used car salespeople come to rest: ShopNBC

Last night, as I was making my list up for the top 5 best video games of all time, I was flipping through the channels trying to find something to watch. Bor

HP Compaq
An Ode to Elliot ShopNBC

Last night, as I was making my list up for the top 5 best video games of all time , I was flipping through the channels trying to find something to watch. Bored with the choices, I decided to turn on ShopNBC to see what the salespeople had to offer. And while I was prepared for some lines that would make a used car salesman cry, I wasn't prepared for the hilarious onslaught of pure bull.

The show started at 9PM and was replayed at 10PM with some extra anecdotes of information and a few more tidbits of funny and incredibly erroneous salvos. Needless to say, it was one of the most entertaining events I have witnessed on a television show in years.

Let me set the scene for you: Two men, one with blond hair sitting on the left and the other with black hair (Elliot) sitting on the right, were discussing an HP notebook (the August 26th top value item) that was sporting a 1.6GHz Intel Centrino Core Duo, a 120GB hard drive and a 15.4-inch "HD-quality" screen. Amazingly, the total package with an estimated value of almost $3,000 came to just five easy payments amounting to roughly $1,000. Of course, the whole package included software, an HP printer and a digital camera, so that amazing value quickly becomes even more laughable with the additional gadgetry thrown in.

At first, I thought ol' Elliot was going to, you know, tell the truth to the "30 million viewers" watching the show that night. Wait, hold on. "30 million viewers"? If 30 million people were watching Elliot and friend spewing this garbage about an under-equipped HP notebook, then that many people are reading this. More like 30 if you ask me.

OK, so where was I? Oh, right, celebrity A-lister Elliot, in blue. So, after he bragged about his numbers, Elliot got into the core specs of this "V12 engine." This is when it gets fun.

According to our friend Elliot, the HP notebook sports the "safest, most unhackable and (most importantly) uncrashable, Windows Vista Business edition." At this point, I almost lost it, but I maintained composure until he hit me with this monster: "With Windows Vista Business, there is no need for extra security software! It's the first operating system to protect against viruses and pop-ups!"

Oh Elliot, Elliot, Elliot. If I didn't love your blue shirt so much, I would tell you how amazingly ridiculous you sound. And, if I had the time, I would definitely explain to you why you're oh so wrong. Instead, I think I'll just sit here and laugh.

But trust me, this is only the beginning. With nary a blink, my new best friend Elliot decided to show off the operating system that "will not inflict a machine with viruses or spyware." The first thing he pointed out that the guy with blond hair seemed so excited to see was Vista's 3D window display.

Confused, I turned the volume up to see what in the world this dolt was talking about. After a lengthy description that went nowhere, Elliot finally showed me what he was talking about: the 3D window flip in Vista. Wow. Obviously business must be slow on ShopNBC and the material was running low because if that was the best he had, then he might want to find a new profession.

But, just as I knew he would, ol' Elliot found it within him to take this poor excuse for a sales pitch out of the basement and make everyone see what the true benefits of owning an HP laptop really are: Wi-Fi.

Elliot started out with an empathetic tone by explaining to blondie that he has been told on numerous occasions that, "you know, Elliot. I'm just not there yet for wireless -- it's too much to learn. I like to go in steps and I just don't think I'm ready to take it to the next level." Well, just to show us how easy it is to get onto the Internet, he was going to walk us through the process.

So, with a few knuckle cracks, rolled-up sleeves and some sweat, Elliot went through the arduous task of connecting wirelessly to the Internet. Amazingly, Elliot showed us how to hit a wireless button above the keyboard that would magically light up in blue once connected. And then, just when you thought it couldn't get any better, Elliot was lauding the fact that wireless connectivity was "just that easy!" But wait, there's more. Once connected to the Internet, ol' Elliot, feet planted to the ground, ready for anything that may come his way, told us all that the notebook comes with Internet Explorer and wait! It features a "pop...up...blocker!" The exuberance that filled the room was enough for any grown man to cry. Honestly, it was just that touching.

And while you would have turned the station already, I was strangely captivated by these two men, obviously spewing information with no knowledge of the product they were selling while trying to appeal to the "30 million viewers" anxiously waiting on Elliot's next words. Believe me, the next few topic areas take the cake.

Now that you read part 1, check out part 2 where Elliot tackles peer pressure, body building and Vista excitement!

Although the price isn't the same, I'm pretty sure this is the same package as what was on Sunday night. Check it out.

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About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

 

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